After a pretty miserable summer, and an uncharacteristically warm October, you’d be forgiven for feeling it seems premature for the clocks to be going back. However, for those of you who had forgotten it’s almost Halloween and bonfire night and be warned; the clocks will be changing on Sunday 29 October. That’s in two weeks’ time. For some cyclists, this is the signal to pack up the bike and move onto the indoor trainer, or press pause on cycle commuting for the winter.
In this blog, we’ll be looking at 5 reasons why you should consider keeping up cycle commute this winter.
It saves money
The cost-of-living crisis won’t be going anywhere for a while and with many people looking for ways to save some money – cycling can play a role in easing your financial burden. While we are realistically not going to be commuting by bike every day of the year – every little will help. Halfords have put together a handy calculator to work out the cost savings. I popped in a commute of 10 miles where you can easily drive, cycle, or take a train, and here are the illustrated costs.
The Fitness Benefits
You’ll be getting fitter by cycling to work without even trying! The health benefits of exercise are widely known however at its most basic level, sitting for an hour burns 60-130 calories whereas cycling for an hour at a light to moderate effort burns 400-600 calories (although without going into a science lesson, this will depend on your weight, sex and the intensity of your ride – the faster and harder the ride, the more you’ll burn). Either way, cycling will improve your cardiovascular fitness which in turn helps keep many illnesses at bay, as well as burn up some calories along the way.
It’s good for your mental health
This week saw World Mental Health Day, reminding us of the importance of looking after your mental health and those around you. There is a huge amount of academic research showing the benefits that exercise can bring to your mental health.
A recent review in the British Journal of of Sports Medicine concluded that physical activity can improve depression and anxiety. This study looked at 97 different papers on the topic with over 128,000 participants and showed that there was a significant improvement in mental health with physical activity.
A cycle into work really can help clear your head and boost your mood (as well as all the other benefits that come with cycle commuting)
Beat the never-ending train strikes
Will they ever end? If you take the train, you’ll likely have had enough of the relentless strikes. Where I live this is twinned with a huge line renovation project so the likelihood is, if I need to take the train, there probably won’t be one, or it will be late! If you drive, the train strikes are also a pain, because they increase the traffic on the roads, increasing your commute time. Commuting by bike gives you a more predictable journey time (plus your bike is not going to go on strike!), making it much easier to plan your life.
The environment benefits
We are constantly reminded of the impact of climate change and it’s more present than ever. If the UK wants to hit the net zero targets, active transport must play a key role, so keeping up cycling over the winter helps you play your part in this change.
A study that was done for the Department of Transport looked at the “propensity to cycle” across the UK to support local planning departments to invest in cycling infrastructure in the areas where people would be most likely to cycle more. Overall, the study suggested that if we cycled as much as the Dutch “English local authorities could reduce outputs of CO2 by over 1500 Tonnes per year”.
A bonus one for you as, let’s be honest, there is nothing better than sitting at your desk hearing your colleagues moan about their commute, meanwhile you had a lovely journey in, got some exercise, feel good and are more than ready to tackle the day ahead. Especially if you braved the rain!
Make sure you are prepared for the winter
Commuting during the winter months does take additional planning. You can read our tips for winter commuting kit here, however it’s vital that consider the following:
Keep your bike well maintained, winter roads can wear the bike down quicker
Invest in good lights, and ensure the batteries are charged
Always pack a waterproof (it’s the UK after all!)
Get some good gloves
Be seen: on top of good lights, ensure that you are wearing high viz. It’s not a fashion show, black kit in the dark is not visible. Embrace the neon!
And most importantly – make sure you are insured! Good bicycle insurance will cover you for damage and theft as well as liability should you accidentally cause damage to another person or their belongings.
All of the Yellow Jersey Bicycle Insurance and electric bicycle insurance policies cover commuting, so what are you waiting for! If you need any assistance, give the customer support team a call on 0333 003 0046! They’re super friendly and easy to get through to.